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M.A. Thesis/Non-Thesis & Exit Examination

Master of Arts in French, German and Spanish


The Thesis option

The 8999-Thesis Research course is the 6-credit course for students who elected to write an M.A. Thesis, and who are then required to take only 8 of the 10 graduate courses needed for the M.A. degree. If you are going to be writing a Thesis, you must be registered for a minimum of six credit hours before you can be cleared for graduation. Depending on your pace, you can register for only one hour at the start, and then, as you progress of the Thesis, register for another few credit hours at a time, making sure that you leave at least one credit hour for the semester in which you expect to graduate, since you must be enrolled at the time of graduation. An M.A. Thesis ought to be a more substantial piece of work than a typical seminar paper, and it will quite likely be longer than a typical seminar paper (ca. 40pp.).

The College of Arts and Sciences has special guidelines for formatting and uploading Theses to its electronic server. You may upload your Thesis only after it has been approved by both your director and reader(s) (for content), and the Graduate School (for formatting). 

Please also see: Thesis Guidelines


The Non-Thesis option

The non-Thesis paper is a departmental requirement; it carries no credit, so please, do not register for 8999 if you are opting for the non-Thesis! An M.A. non-Thesis paper may well be a very polished-up version of a good seminar final paper (ca. 15-20 pp.).

Whether you are writing an M. A. Thesis or non-Thesis, the following procedures apply:

  • Choose a topic. Ask the professor in the area of choice whether he/she will be willing to direct it. The professor will suggest a second reader inside or outside the department. You will be turning in drafts along the semester, per your director’s indications, to both director and second reader.
  • Fill in the “Proposal Form for M.A. Research Project” no later than the first day of classes in the semester in which you wish to graduate; place it in the Graduate Director’s door. She will sign them and turn them to the departmental file.
  • Once the final draft is approved, the director, the second reader and the department’s Chairperson will sign the "M.A. Thesis signature form" or the "M.A. non-Thesis signature form". Attach that sheet to the completed paper for signing. Make sure the work is turned in (with the signed signature sheet attached) no later than a week after the M.A. oral exam, so as to have ample time for administrative processing.


Important deadlines

The M. A. non-Thesis may be submitted for final approval only during fall and spring semesters. If you plan to graduate during a summer semester, be sure to have everything completed and signed during the spring semester, since professors are often abroad during the summer term. If you are writing a Thesis, you may upload it in the summer semester, but make sure it has been signed off by all responsible parties.


Exit Examination

Before the M.A. degree is conferred, students have to pass an M.A. exit examination. Tentative dates are early November for the fall semester, and early April for the spring semester. The exam is not administered in the summer term.